3D Printing Aside: Shapeways and Ponoko

If it's something you watch or hear or read, this is the general grab-bag for it.

3D Printing Aside: Shapeways and Ponoko

Postby Volair » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:28 am

I've been singing the praises of MakerBot Industries a lot lately, but arguably there's something more accessible and interesting to the general Unicorn Jelly community, and that's mail-order custom shops! These companies own expensive fabrication machines and sell their services to individuals for pretty reasonable rates. The setups have monetary systems similar to Lulu.com's printing press model, so designers can sell their designs through these shops as products. Here's two I like:

http://www.shapeways.com/
3D printing, at high quality, for fairly cheap. You'll pay much more than if you had your own 3D printer, but the build quality is very high (higher than you'd get with a MakerBot) and Shapeways improves their processes all the time. This is the way to go if you're a 3D artist and not any sort of engineer, for now. Soon, I think in less than a few years, there will be services to do this sort of thing locally and at much lower costs, but for now this is pretty neat.

http://www.ponoko.com/
Ponoko specializes in fabricating things in 2D. Not printing on paper, but cutting with a laser. Thick planks of wood, acrylic or other materials are put into a machine like an etch-a-sketch, except with a computer turning the knobs and a super-powered laser that can melt acrylic, burn wood, and slice through paper like it wasn't there. As a quick trip through their galleries shows, this gives you a lot more power than you might think! People have been assembling things from flat pieces for centuries, and the old techniques still work.

Also, Ponoko is building a fabrication network to connect users to fabricator owners on the local level, creating tiny shops all over the world, findable by the internet, and ready to make things designed by local artists. This could grow into a sort of fabber Craigslist, letting anyone design something and have a way of finding someone with a 3D printer or laser cutter, not only who could get them the parts, but who would be local enough to eliminate shipping entirely.
User avatar
Volair
Kumquat Class

  Offline
 
Posts: 167
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:31 pm
Location: Hillsbrad, OR

Re: 3D Printing Aside: Shapeways and Ponoko

Postby Ashes » Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:20 pm

Shapeways looks like it's pretty affordable for custom tabletop-game minis. If I read the website correctly, something the size of a large (2x2 inch base) D&D Mini was about $5.00. Not bad at all!

Although you'd have to paint it yourself...
User avatar
Ashes
Melon Class

  Offline
 
Posts: 565
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2008 11:09 am

Re: 3D Printing Aside: Shapeways and Ponoko

Postby Tychomonger » Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:26 pm

For many people that's a plus.
Hello!
Aealacreatrananda wrote:When I envision a far far future.... I don't fuck around.

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey... stuff.
--The Doctor
User avatar
Tychomonger
Watermelon Graduate

  Offline
 
Posts: 866
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 7:13 pm
Location: Beside myself

Re: 3D Printing Aside: Shapeways and Ponoko

Postby Volair » Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:12 pm

Like I said, Shapeways is a great option for now. Later on, I think, Ponoko's network of local digital fabricators will become the cheaper option. Still in the works though.
User avatar
Volair
Kumquat Class

  Offline
 
Posts: 167
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:31 pm
Location: Hillsbrad, OR

Re: 3D Printing Aside: Shapeways and Ponoko

Postby Wic » Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:23 pm

Personally I just use playdough.
It's that my homunculus inside my head doesn't even try to understand the outside world. He thinks it's a video game and smashes the buttons at random to find the key where you shoot the lasers.
User avatar
Wic
Apple Class

  Offline
 
Posts: 392
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:04 pm


Return to Media

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron